A large fire broke out on Saturday at the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in Nantes before being hated at the end of the morning. The fire destroyed the building’s large organ. Investigation launched for “arson”
The Gothic cathedral Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Nantes fell victim to a fire on Saturday, July 18, quickly described, but which destroyed the large organ, an event that led to the opening of an investigation into “arson” while Prime Minister Jean Castex went there.
After visiting the cathedral and meeting the firefighters, the prime minister made a brief statement, first paying tribute “to the dedication and great professionalism of the large hundred firefighters who were mobilized from the beginning of the disaster and who handled it with remarkable efficiency”.
Without the professionalism, courage and calm of our security and relief forces, the catastrophe would have been even greater.
The state will play its full role in securing and restoring Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul Cathedral. pic.twitter.com/YWXON6y2QM
– Jean Castex (@JeanCASTEX) July 18, 2020
“On the one hand, place the investigation, placed under the authority it should be, by the prosecutor and on which I have no exact information at this stage. Then to the reconstruction, which I want as soon as possible and where the state will play his full role, “he assured.
Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot, who also visited the site, indicated that “the quality of the French heritage means quite significant economic efforts and the state will, of course, be there for an operation that will necessarily be long.”
Great feeling: fire at Nantes Cathedral! This jewel in our heritage is once again threatened. I will be in Nantes this afternoon. culture Ministry @MinistereCC and its services are already fully mobilized. #Cathedral #Nantes
– Roselyne Bachelot (@R_Bachelot) July 18, 2020
Investigation of “involuntary fire”
Earlier, Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennès had told AFP that it was launching an investigation into a “murder fire”. He said there were “three separate hotspots” but “there is no conclusion to be drawn now”.
“Between the large organ, which is on the facade of the first floor, and the other lamps, you have almost the entire distance from the cathedral, they are still at a considerable distance from each other,” he stated.
But there are no signs of burglary at the external access, he said, while everyone wonders about the origin of the disaster.
According to Father Hubert Champenois, the cathedral’s rector, “everything was in order last night”. The cathedral is usually open to the public from 8 to 19. “Every night, before it closes, a very precise inspection is carried out,” he said.
The judicial police were arrested and a fire expert from the technical and scientific police laboratory in Paris was to go to Nantes to investigate fire starts and the electrical installation in the cathedral.
The passers-by saw flames with flames behind the rose window around 07:05 and called for help.
“There are irreversible things”
Thanks to one hundred firefighters and about forty vehicles, the fire was brought under control for about two hours and was “rewritten” around 10 o’clock, explained Laurent Ferlay, head of the fire department.
Laurent Delpire, curator of antiques and works of art of the Loire-Atlantique, was able to list the relevant elements: organ and organ bag from the 17th century, a painting by Hippolyte Flandrin from the 19th century, some of the stalls in cows that were recently painted glass windows on the facade, some of which were remnants of 16th century stained glass, the rest was modern.
“There are irreversible things, like the painting of Hippolyte Flandrin, Saint Clair healing the blind, it’s definitely lost. It’s a great sorrow,” said Roselyne Bachelot.
The mayor of Nantes, Johanna Rolland (PS), who was able to enter the cathedral, told AFP about her feelings when she discovered the injury. “What dominates is the feelings and sadness of the Catholics in Nantes, because it is an emblematic place, but beyond for all the inhabitants of Nantes and the inhabitants of Nantes.”
AFP journalists who could enter the building discovered the remains of the blackened wooden organ that strewn the ground behind bands that delimited the perimeter.
The construction of the cathedral Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul, in the flamboyant Gothic style, lasted for several centuries (from 1434 to 1891). In 1972, the accident was explained after work performed by a roofer.